How to Repair a Camping Tarpaulin

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How to Repair a Camping Tarpaulin

A tarpaulin is a very useful tool for people planning any camping trip. Unfortunately, many of them look at the tarp as an after-thought tossed in at the last moment. It is important to select the right size, type, and material. Preplanning can save you money, trouble, and time. A variety of tarpaulins can be purchased from eBay.

Care for All of Your Camping Equipment

Remember the tarpaulin is not an add-in, it is an essential part of any camper's equipment and should therefore receive preventative care the same as any other item. How you treat the tarpaulin, whether in use or storage, will have an impact on its longevity and its usefulness, as well as the quality of service you derive from it.

Essential Steps

* Never store the tarp when it is still wet or even damp. Leave it open in the sun so that it can dry completely. Turn it over a few times when spreading it on grass, because the grass will not allow the tarp to dry properly at the bottom. Storing a damp tarp will cause mould. Mould may be poisonous, and it will definitely smell and affect the life of the material.

* After it has dried and is ready to be stored, try and minimize the folds, only rolling it where possible. Depending on the fabric and quality of the tarpaulin, this will prevent unnecessary cracks.

* Tarps are referred to by many different names: canopy, awning, canvas, ground cover, rain cover, and others, depending on the function it is primarily intended for. Tarpaulins give you the opportunity to create privacy and a barrier from small animals and scavengers. It also provides as protection from the ground.

* Be careful to keep any sharp objects from coming in contact with the tarp. Often when a dislodged branch, which may be covered in thorns, falls on the tarp, people may be tempted to just flick it upwards and to the side from underneath. This action may cause the branch to slide across and cut continuously into the surface.

* Don't go outside and use another branch or any tool or pole, which will allow you to reach over the tarp and under the branch. This sort of action could also cause unnecessary damage.

Perhaps the most common use for the tarpaulin is as a shield against wind, sun, or rain. Depending on the size and quality of the tarp, it may allow one to create a large roof fairly quickly. It can protect part of the outdoor area, cover your tent, protect a vehicle, keep the fire wood dry, or serve as the kitchen or a change room. Always be careful to establish a drain point, which obviously is the lowest of the stretch of tarpaulin. The last thing you want is for the weight of the water to cause its own drainage by force of gravity, creating a sudden waterfall on an unsuspecting camper, the food supply, or directly into your tent opening.

Despite the advice, a regular scenario plays out during or after a shower and irrespective how well the tarpaulin had been stretched and tightened, a water puddle of varying sizes and often very heavy, may form on the tarp, making a big bulb at some point. Again the temptation will be to grab a broom stick or other handy tool and shove upwards from underneath to force the water to the side and off the tarpaulin. Without any physics knowledge you only need to feel the downward force of such a water bubble to realise what a strain is put on the tarp at the point where all that weight meets with the end of the object used from below. This can cause the tarpaulin to burst, leaving a considerable tear along the centre. Instead, lift the highest end of the stretched tarpaulin even higher, gently allowing the water to move away and cascade over the lowest edge of the tarp.

Know Your eBay Tarpaulin Seller

If you are not already in possession of a tarpaulin, then be a careful shopper in order to get a good deal. An excellent way to find good quality tarpaulins is to shop eBay Stores. Be sure to communicate with theeBay Community to exchange ideas and get excellent advice. Before you purchase a tarpaulin, research the eBay seller to ensure that your transaction is secure and positive. Here are some important questions to consider before you buy a tarpaulin for your camping trip.

* How many negative versus positive responses does the seller have?

* What do eBay buyers say about their camping equipment in the feedback?

* How many tarpaulin sales has the eBay seller completed?

* Is there a money-back guarantee provided by the seller for their equipment?

* What are the seller's terms and conditions?

Repair a Camping Tarpaulin

Tarpaulins, due to their required services have specific designs. All of them have to allow the camper to run a rope through some holes along the edges of the tarpaulin, to be able to secure it to a variety of objects, which will act as supports. With the proper supports, a tarpaulin can function well as a wind break, sun shield, to keep rain off the fire, keep people dry, be a room divider, or a ground cover. Those holes are protected and rimmed by grommets.

Grommets are small circular objects inserted through holes along the edges of the tarpaulin, which will allow the camper to run the cord or rope through them and be able to put strain on the tarpaulin without tearing it. Unfortunately, a grommet may break from the tarpaulin in a fight with the strength of the wind. This could tear right through the edge of the tarpaulin at the point where it was tied down. Even if the tools were available, there will not be the time to fully replace a torn out grommet in a tarpaulin under such conditions. The camper may now replace the torn tarpaulin with another, should one be available, or choose not to install it as planned and be left exposed to the elements, sun in your eyes, wind through everything or rain on the fire. In this case you can repair a camping tarpaulin by doing the following.

* Select a rounded stone or a piece of wood with no sharp edges, approximately the size of a quarter.

* Place the stone on the tarpaulin in the position just above where the grommet was ripped out of the tarpaulin.

* Fold the tarp over the stone and if the tarp seems to be weakened.

* Fold the material double before placing the stone on it, then role the doubled canvass over the stone and use it as an anchor to form a noose with the rope around the stone.

* Tightly pull it closed.

This simple emergency repair applied to the torn tarpaulin and the rope will anchor the tarpaulin successfully. Even when a clamping device is available, the stone rolled method is preferable and safer. This is because the fold over technique spreads the force over a wider area and will last longer, while the clamps normally have 'jaws' where the force will be concentrated, This often results in another tear under strain.

The Tarpaulin and the Sharp Object

Despite the preventative advice above, any sharp object may still cause a tear of any length in your tarp, which will require emergency repairs. Every camper should plan and provide for an emergency kit. This kit will not only provide for first aid in case of injury, animal bites, insect stings or sickness to the people, but it can help out with camping equipment malfunctions. Enough duct tape and extra cord should always be available on any camping trip, as it can serve as an emergency repair kit in the event of a tear or a hole being caused. A wide range of kits can be purchased from online marketplaces like eBay. Here are steps to repair a camping tarpaulin with an emergency kit.

* Remove the tension to relieve the strain in the area where the rip appeared. It will be advisable to take the tarp down completely whenever possible.

* Thoroughly clean and dry the area around the tear, then bring the edges together to align them and form as closely as possible the original shape of the material around the rip.

* Firmly apply the duct tape along the length of the rip, extending it well past the ends of the tear.

* Apply a few strips overlapping each other, especially when the edges may be frayed, until the hole is covered in the length as well as the width. Should you have enough tape and depending on the weather conditions, it may be prudent to cover those strips across a few times to further strengthen the repair.

* Apply some tape in a similar manner from underneath to ensure dependable results.

Another possibility is to cut lengths from a spare tarpaulin, which can also be used to be stitch over the rips. This goes beyond the norms of 'emergency' repairs. Such a damaged and emergency repaired tarpaulin can never be expected to last for long. It should be professionally mended or even replaced before the next camping trip. The damaged tarp may now be kept as an emergency extra in the future.


You will need to consider a wide selection of tarpaulins in order to find the one that you need and that you can be prepared to fix on a camping trip. A variety of camping tarpaulins can be purchased from eBay.

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